Imagine that your body is a building. Yin Yoga takes care of the foundation, the beams, and the structural aspects. Yin Yoga transforms your body from the inside.
There is gentle yoga, dynamic yoga, yoga for strength, and even yoga with pets, or yoga with goats. But only some styles of yoga take you deep into your body. A place that is below the muscles, in the bones and tendons.
Yin Yoga is a journey into your inner self, just let you and surrender to it.
What exactly is Yin Yoga?
The idea behind Yin Yoga is to hold poses and stretches for a long time. This technique has been practiced for centuries in China and Taiwan as part of the Taoist system, which was taught along with breathing techniques to students of Kung Fu.
Yin Yoga is a quiet and rather simple practice. But this does not mean that it is easy or superficial. It works deeply with our bodies.
Performing slower exercises or keeping them longer also requires a lot of effort. You use more than just muscles: you reach the deepest tissues of the body such as ligaments, joints, and bones.
Complementing your practice
Yin Yoga is based on the Taoist concepts of Yin and Yang, two opposite and yet complementary principles that are present in nature.
- Yin is the stable, immobile, and hidden aspect of things.
- Yang is the changing, moving, and revealing aspect.
There are also other contrasts: cold and heat, below and above, calm and emotion, stiff and flexible.
We are Yin and Yang
If we transfer these principles to the human body, the rigid connective tissues are yin, while the muscles or blood are yangs.
Yin Yoga prioritizes work on all yin tissues, also known as connective tissues, which respond best to slow and stable workloads.
If you stretch the connective tissues by maintaining your posture for a long time, the body responds by making them a little stronger and longer.
This requires that the muscles around the connective tissues relax, which we must keep in mind is not possible in all postures.
Four principles of posture
From the perspective of Yin Yoga we must take into account four fundamental principles when practicing asanas:
1. Find the limit: we will make slow and soft movements when we build the posture so that we can be aware of the adequate intensity that our body asks and allows us, without the stretching ever causing discomfort or pain.
2. Quietness: to reach conscious liberation in the posture there must be a complete absence of movement, without changing the position.
3. Maintaining the posture: to achieve the expected effects it will be necessary to stay in the asana more than usual in other methods. It is recommended to maintain between 1 and 3 minutes for beginners and 5 minutes or more for experienced practitioners.
4. Undo with attention: just as we build the posture in a conscious and gradual way, we will avoid undoing it in a careless way. We become aware of how the body returns to a natural position after the execution of the posture.
Benefits of Yin Yoga
Regular practice of Yin yoga will bring us the following benefits:
- Increased circulation and improved flexibility.
- Quietness, calm and mental balance.
- Reduction of stress and anxiety.
- Deep relaxation.
- Release of the fascia.
- Increased joint mobility.
- Stimulation of the meridians, balancing the organs.
Unlike what we often think, a fast and mechanical exercise becomes superficial, while a slow and conscious practice will reach the deepest of our tissues.
Remember that the slower you practice, the more intense it can be. And that gentle yoga may be more challenging than you think.